There are many types of shuttles on the market these days. The most common one until recently has been the pointed-oval aluminum shuttle with a hook built in and a removable bobbin. These lightweight, metal shuttles have been around for decades and are made by quite a few different manufacturers. Nowadays, the same style of shuttle is made in plastic, with a small metal hook glued into the tip, and a plastic removable bobbin. Several manufacturers also made extra bobbins for these shuttles. In my opinion, shuttles with hooks are the most convenient and easy to use because the hooks make it super simple to do the joins without having to drop your work and pick up a crochet hook. Removable bobbins also make it easy to switch between projects should there be a very good reason to not finish one project before starting on another one!
Another very useful type of shuttle is the same pointed oval shape but with a sharp tip on one end to make the joins instead of an actual hook. These are made in both metal and plastic as well, but most of the time do not have removable bobbins, rather just a central post that the thread is wound onto. The ends of these shuttles are not joined together so that the thread can be easily wound on the central post. Many antique silver shuttles are in this style. The caveat with these shuttles is that the pointed end needs to be rather sharp in order to catch the threads to make joins, and if you tat quickly you run the risk of poking yourself with that sharp tip!
Other shuttles use the pointed oval shape with or without removable bobbins but they don’t have any hooks or points to make joins easier.
Older styles of shuttles look like a weaver’s shuttle or a bodkin – a flat oblong or oval shape with a slot and hole at each end to wind thread on. The tips of these types can be elongated and curved either to hold more thread or make joins.
All of these shuttle styles come in various sizes, colors, materials and designs so try some and figure out what works best for you. If you have small hands, a shuttle 2 to 4 inches long is probably best, and not one that is 6 inches long and 2 inches deep! It may hold a lot of thread, but your work will go very slow if you can’t hold it very well.
Personally, I have a collection of beautiful silver shuttles, some antique and some not, but I don’t use them. Most don’t have points or hooks and I find the metal to be too slick to hold onto when I tat. I’ve also found that the aluminum shuttles with the removable bobbins that I first learned to tat with and used for many years, are now difficult for me to comfortably work with. The edges are just sharp enough to irritate my fingers. So when I discovered the plastic shuttles with hooks, I gladly switched to using them. I haven’t used my dozen or so aluminum shuttles since! I also use the small plastic one-piece shuttles with the sharp point and no removable bobbin periodically, mostly when traveling (didn’t want to take any chances with the TSA when crochet hooks were being banned from carry-on items!). I have taken to slightly blunting the sharp points with a nail file though as I gave myself a nasty gash the first time I used one!